The vast majority of racers in Lonato, Italy for the Rok Cup SuperFinal have opted to compete in this weekend’s Rok Cup Trophy event to prepare for the big event. Massive grids in Mini, Junior and Senior, along with a good selection of Shifter and Expert drivers took the chance to attack the South Garda Karting circuit. For those attending for the first time, it was a chance to get a taste of what is in store this coming week.
In total there were 12 Canadians taking the track this weekend.
All five Canadian drivers came to Italy early and an impression has been made.
Jensen Burnett qualified in the top ten and won a couple of heat races to earn the pole position for the Final. But he slipped back in the Final to finish sixth after a tough first few laps. He’s been staying in Italy for the past month and is focused on next week’s event, looking for his second SuperFinal title.
Caleb Campbell is back for his second SuperFinal and he’s been off to a great start. He ran inside the top five in a couple of his heat races and transferred to the A Final. Starting towards the back, he advanced seven spots and was in some very heated battles before finishing 26th. He’s pitted with a local Italian team (BM Karting Team) and feels really good going into next week.
It’s been a rough learning curve for Christian Menezes so far in Italy. He’s had great pace but the racing has been tough on him. He had a big crash in Sunday morning’s heat race that required a number of parts to be replaced and that also forced him to the B Final. Sadly, he was involved in another crash on the start but was able to continue to the finish. Getting his tough luck out of the way now, he just needs to reset before the SuperFinal.
Zackary Taylor had to start all of his heat races from the tail of the grid after missing Qualifying. Like his brother, he has been racing in Europe quite a bit this summer and makes his first Rok Cup start in Italy this week. After starting from the rear once again, he moved up 12 spots and finished 23rd in the B Final.
Finally, Baz Kedairy is competing this weekend under the Canadian and Jordan nationalities. After racing at Goodwood for the past two years, Kedairy has moved to Jordan and will be racing there. Unfortunately, like Menezes, he did not have any luck in the races. He was actually part of the big crash for Menezes in the heat race and on the opening lap of the B Final, he once again made heavy contact and was forced to retire. He too needs a reset before he returns for the SuperFinal.
We have high hopes for our trio of Seniors this week. Returning for their second year, Robert Soroka and Gianluca Savaglio took to the track this weekend.
With 58 drivers entered for the Rok Cup trophy it was a good showcase of what’s to come.
Both drivers showed great speed in Qualifying, taking 10th and 17th. In the heats, they were quick again and easily transferred to the A-Final with the only hiccup for Soroka being a crash in his first heat.
In the Final, Soroka had a mega charge, moving up 20 spots on track to finish 14th while Savaglio had a solid start, but slipped back in the later stages of the race due to some hard battling.
They both know what to expect this week and should be in the running for the top ten.
We had a pair of Canucks in Shifter this weekend as Davide Greco and Niki Taylor suited up.
Greco is back for another shot at the SuperFinal while Taylor has been busy racing in Europe this season, mainly in KZ2, and makes his first start with the Rok Shifter package supported by GP Kart.
The pair ran together in the heat races and started on rows three and four for the Final. Greco got off to a good start and was running with the top five until he ran into a problem. His water pump shifted and caused his water to overheat and spill onto his rear tire, forcing him to withdraw on five.
Taylor ran with the lead pack in ninth for most of the race and picked up a pair of positions at the end when two drivers ahead of him tangled.
Both have good speed heading into the SuperFinal and should find themselves back inside the top ten throughout the week.
77 drivers took to the track this weekend in Mini with just over 100 expected for the SuperFinal.
Three of the six Canadian drivers pounced on the opportunity to drive this week and that will benefit them over the next seven days.
Edward Kennedy joined the Energy Kart program just before the Canadian Championships and he’s racing with the factory team in Italy, even competing last weekend in the Industry Trophy at South Garda. He qualified 23rd overall and kept himself out of trouble in the heat races to transfer to the A Final. He found himself in some tight battles and finished one position back of where he started in sixteenth at the line.
Following in his brothers footsteps, Decklan Deonarine is making his first SuperFinal start this week and he too is with Energy Corse. He had a good qualifying run to rank 32nd and progressed nicely in the heat races to also transfer to the A Final. Making up seven spots and looking confident, Deonarine finished 26th.
Making his first trip across the ocean to compete is Matthew Roach. He’s joined Zanchi Competition for the SuperFinal and has sure had his eyes opened since arriving in Italy. He quickly got up to speed though and qualified 30th overall but the heat races were not too kind to him and forced him to the B Final. Unfortunately, he had an off on the pace lap and wasn’t able to make the start of the race. Tough lessons learned this weekend but it should only help him for the main event.
The remainder of Team Canada is set to arrive by Monday in Italy and will utilize the practice days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get set up for the SuperFinal. Qualifying will take place on Thursday followed by the heat races on Friday, setting the grids for the SuperFinals on Saturday.
Saturday’s main events will be broadcasted online and will do our best to upload the feed onto CKN for you to watch our Canadians do battle at the Rok Cup SuperFinal!